Saturday, December 26, 2009

Interview part 8 DVD : Dualnames Versus Dualnames

1) So to start with the usual, what's your favorite AGS game?

It's really a hard choice. I find Spooks to have filled my heart with joy, like no other game has. I find Barn Runner games to make me laugh so hard as none other game has. It's probably a choice between those two.

2) How does it feel like hosting the MAGS? You feel like hosting forever?

Sometimes it's a nightmare, especially if something in your personal life does come up, but it's a rather fun experience, and I'm really happy that some cool games lately, were in fact entries for the MAGS competition. Not to forget the recent breaking of a 8 entries in one competition.
As for how long will I host it..ah well, perhaps forever..:P

3) You've been working on a remake of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for two years or so. When will the game get eventually released?

The million dollar question that is. I've trying to answer this for years, but I only know the question and not the answer. And I seriously doubt it's forty two. I am not going to let this game take forever. If at some point it does, I'll just release it as it is. I'm really satisfied with the result as it is, but there's always room for improvement.
4) It's a strong opinion that has been expressed in the forums, and people stand divided, on whether this remake has anything to offer than the original.

I doubt there has been a remake that could surpass the magic that the original offered. Take monkey island for instance. Yes, the remake was certainly cool, but I still find the original to give me the vibes. There's a difference with this remake though. Remaking a 2D game to a 2D game, means mostly improving the technical sectors of that game. Remaking a 1D game to a 2D game, means adding one more dimension to a game, therefore adding and removing stuff, which is a necessary thing to be done, so that the transition is more fluent.

I find the opinion that the remake has nothing to offer in terms of gameplay, to be a little short-minded. Certainly the original offers interactivity, but that doesn't mean the level of it, can't be reached, or capped. Even on a point and click interface, which equals to the old banging of the rocks thing. But did the original offered Music? Speech? Graphics? Not really. But that's where its magic lied. It felt like playing the book. Your imagination couldn't be restrained.

To sum up, I really love the original, and respecting it, we've put some really hard work on this remake.

5) Two times on the past, one being really recent, you've decided to halt the game, why's that? And what changed your mind to work on it again?

Well, on the first time, I sort of got this idea that my art skills were putting off people from this game, and with all the hard work done, I really found this was unfair to me and the team, therefore without being able to find an artist to help me out, I decided to halt production untill I do so find.

This caused the mob to come after me, and most importantly Ghost, to write me the kindest words ever written. Speaking of him, he's been away lately and I begin to worry..

On the second time, I found that artist, and with the round of improvements going on forever, I really felt that with that rate the game will end up vaporware. And my game was getting me down as Snake once said about his.

So I decided to stop for a while to think of things. I asked a moderator to lock the topic, and damn that caused a number of pms on my way. Thanks to those that I won't name for it doesn't matter for the rest of the world, but their help is deeply appreciated.

And so I'm back on track and very very happy with the latest changes.

6) You said that you find the games you've released so far as not enjoyable apart from Towel Day. Do you think Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy Remake will end up enjoyable?

Towel Day is really my pride, because it was the only game, I've really focused on just making it worth spending time with. And it made me really happy that it got received as so.
For the 'big' game I definitely target it to be, but I really don't have an objective opinion if it really is.

Here's the trailer if you want to have a look at it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vote Ben

Single-handed awesomeness machien Ben304 has released another gem with "!". So, in honour of the 304th game he's made this year, there's a poll so that you can pick your favourite.

Honorable Gentlemen

Its the time of year for year-top-10s and pick 10 of the best indies and Time Gentlemen Please makes an Honorable Mention, if not the 10 itself.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Harry's 21st Birthday Review

Ah, the classic 21st. One last hurrah before the Terrible Twenties. Being vastly irresponsible and trying to piece together exactly what happened through the headachey next morning.
This looks to be the exact case with protagonist Tom's bessie mate Harry, with one key exception.

He's a sadistic and powerful cyberdemon inhabiting the depths of Hell. As Tom, the player must prepare everything for the party and ensure nothing goes wrong.
I always like to start a game's review with its most praiseworthy feature. It sets a good precident and doesn't put potential players off. And by far the best feature is the humour! The game's witty narrative and dialogue had myself and no doubt many other players in stitches. The ending in particular made me laugh out loud.

The game is created using the sprites from classic shooter Doom, and in many ways its main audience is the fans of the game. There are many tongue-in-cheek references packed into the game (including the shocking truth behind why there is body armour and other human-friendly assistance in the depths of hell) and playing will give the golden oldies of video gaming good things to reminisce about. It's almost like Doom was a film (I refuse to acknowledge the existence of that one with the Rock) and this game is a massive DVD extra released for the remastered edition.

Beyond that, it's a wonderfully intricate game. It verges on the easy side, but being needlessly complex would ruin the fun appeal. The comparative length (it took me roughly half an hour to complete) leaves the player wanting more - this is a praise rather than a criticism.
All in all, Harry's 21st Birthday is incredibly inventive, brilliantly original and works as a fine tribute to a classic game as well as shining in its own right. It's funny, punchy and seamless.

Final Score: 8/10

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

IGF Resonates

Indiegames have chosen their top 10 IGF 2009 picks and... Resonance is in there and all the other AGS entries get a mention, too. Awesome!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Featherweight: The Blue Cup Critic review

And so comes the first of (I hope) many contributions to the AGS blog by the Blue Cup Critic. All parties involved sat around the table and thrashed out a lucrative deal to link the two enterprises. Actually, that's not true. We exchanged a few PMs and an email was sent. I just wanted to instil a little drama.

Featherweight is set in a post-apocalyptic future and deals with Thadd, a Featherweight scout (as in small and useful for recon rather than fighting, although the boxing-savvy will have already grasped the inferrence) for the humans in the war against the machines. And for everyone who's mind immediately sprang to California's current governor, this is like Terminator but it isn't Terminator. The two plots are similar, but Featherweight has more than enough individuality and flair about it to define itself separately. This is helped by the amazing scenery; Ben Chandler (or Ben304) pulls out all the stops in immersing us in the world of Featherweight, and it gives the game a fantastic edge. Debris, burned out cars, cracked architecture and more are used to achieve the desired effect, yet are also functional to the puzzles.

But back to the story. A young female scout has been captured by the robots and Thadd, disgusted by the complacency of his partner, goes on a one-man crusade to rescue his compatriot. Using ingenuity and stealth, Thadd must brave the dangers of the robot base.

A wildly inventive plot and gorgeous and oppressive artwork are two of the main reasons this game works so well, but they're not the main positive. Featherweight is in a similar standard of difficulty to Robbing the Princess, although the puzzles are different. I found myself sympathising fully with Thadd as he cursed himself for failing to advance. Featherweight features wonderfully crafted puzzles designed in logic and cruel problem-solving. There's a massive emphasis on trial and error; it took me five tries to disable the bars to my makeshift cell before dispairingly turning to a walkthru. Even though we're only dealing with two buttons, I would have been trying combinations for days. Despite the emphasis on trial and error, the game is particularly unforgiving in terms of the latter part. Detection is rewarded by having to catch yourself up via a gruelling journey from your cell, something that extends the game but frustrates, no doubt to the intense glee of the designer.

Despite all these great things there is a criticism to make, and it is a big one. While I'm sure it's recieved mixed reviews by players, I have to admit disliking the music intently. It's suitably futuristic, but is bizarrely light-hearted and perky. I perceived Featherweight to be a particularly dark game; in this critic's humble opinion it would have been benefited so much with a grittier, more oppressive tune.

But that's just one aspect. Featherweight is an extremely well made game and creates a futuristic setting that is both original and believable. I'd recommend it more to MENSA members than casual gamers, but to both groups it's incredibly entertaining.

Final Score: 8/10

Monday, December 14, 2009

Critical acclaim

A new blog has started up on this-AGS releated and if I don't manage to buy them out, you can read it at So far there's 3 AGS reviews up.

Interesting stuff

Here's a couple of nuggets for game designers:

Perk up

Ben Chandler has some tips over at hardydev on how to get through the "Slough of Despond" (and presumably on into the Staines of Joy instead) on a game project.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Keyword kapers

Here are some keywords that somehow lead to my blog:
  • canada zombie (Is there something Erin isn't telling us?)
  • hot bj (that's how i always search for Grundislav's games, too)
  • i got 2 2 2 push pineapple shake the tree (Black Lace fan)
  • hugh jackman (I should mention more celebs in passing!)
  • ags studio nazi (I'm not a nazi, no matter what Dualnames says about my blog work camps)
  • second face geltz sex (well, now we know why people like that game so much)
  • a got dododo push pineapple shake the three (that Black Lace fan still can't get the lyrics right)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My heart is in your eyes

Wadjet Eye have a super soaraway seasonal special on. There's 50% off some titles and Dave's donating a portion of all sales to the Get-Well Gamers Foundation charity. Also, all holiday purchasers can partake of the public beta of Puzzle Bots! Just use code "HOLIDAY" when coughing up your lucre.

Become AGS's answer to Hugh Jackman

Or perhaps you're more of a Whoopi or Alec Baldwin? Anyway, I've asked for someone to take over the AGS Awards.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Interview with a Maniac

I just noticed this poll's results, on who you guys want me to interview..
And it ends up ME?
You really want to see me ask me about HHGTG and my life as a terrible adventure game developer?

I'll think of something. In the meantime SSH was really near, and CJ almost made it. Marion and Auriond got some cool votes too! And Tolworthy too!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Interview Part 7: CJ (The Interview I Was Meant To Be!)

Trim the sails and roam the sea (J) indeed! He doesn't really answer anything, so it's rather pointless. But that's how all English folk are! Tricky and Sneaky!

1)Okay, first question coming up. Which one is your favorite AGS game?

Hah! Nice try, but that's one question I'll never answer! :=

2)How hard is it really to have a standard job, and have all those people PMing you, telling you they found a bug, making requests, asking you if you'll join Mittens this year?

As time goes by it's harder and harder to find the time to work on AGS. At the moment for example, I'm very busy with my real life and haven't had a chance to do any work on AGS for a few weeks now. So bugs get reported and start stacking up but I don't have time to fix them. And then of course the list of things to fix is quite daunting when I finally do have some spare time!

3)Where are you working in your real life? And hell, tell us a bit more about yourself and how did you end up a programmer extraordinaire?

I work as a software developer, when I'm not drinking cans of lager on street corners. One day whilst training to become a whale tamer, I accidentally wrote an "if" statement with its blood, and from then on I knew programming would be the career for me.

4)Since you are the man behind the AGS Forum, or at least the AGS part of that,I'm wondering for years, what's with the moderators (like c.leksutin) that are inactive? Why do you guys just keep em there?

c.leksutin is still there as a tribute to him, following his mysterious disappearence. Otherwise, the moderation of the forums seems to work quite well, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

5)There's this really weird question, but it's been bugging me for quite a while now, on the manual, on the part where you explain how to use variables, you have an example with 42.Are you a fan of Douglas Adams, or is it just a reference?

Haha, I think that's just a coincidence. Not everything in life leads back to HHGTG!

Sure, from all integers you choose to equal an integer called life to 42. That's coincidence alright. Gives the impression of coincidence better than coincidence itself.

6)Which AGS game in production are you most excited about? If any?

See my answer to question 1!!

7)What are your plans for AGS Engine (apart from stabilizing its current version). Meaning, what things should we expect?

At the moment with the amount of free time I have, it's a struggle just stabilizing the current version. So I've got no idea what any future versions might have in store!

8)So you're a guy that has built an adventure game engine, and a very succesfull one, how come you've never built a single game(at least haven't shared with the AGS folk)?

There's an old phrase, "stick to what you're good at". And I'm no good at most of the things you need to be able to do to make a game :D

9)Do you really think the forums aren't what they used to be?

They're always changing, and will never be the same as they used to be. Better or worse? People come, people go, but the forums are always there. Well, except when they're broken!

10)Ever planning on working on a game?

Never say never, I just wish I had the time!

I'm planning on inventing a time machine!